The county seat of Lancaster
County, Lancaster, Pennsylvannia, is one of the oldest inland towns in the United States. Lying about 80 miles west of Philadelphia, Lancaster is a popular site for tourists interested in surrounding Lancaster County, in particular the distinctive lifestyle and culture of the Pennsylvania Dutch, or Amish, whose farms predominate in the rural areas around the city of Lancaster.
Schools in Outer Lancaster
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Restaurants & Nightlife
Housed in a historic old building constructed in the mid 1700s, the Dirty Ol’ Tavern represents an oasis in the very sparsely populated south central edge of town. Patrons enjoy the roast beef, pulled pork and ham sandwiches, as well as cheap beer and friendly ambiance. The tavern occasionally hosts special entertainment events, such as bringing in a DJ to spin records or the yuletide Santa Ho Down.
Can’t decide between moo shu vegetables and sushi? At Ginmiya you can get both. This Chinese and Japanese restaurant has served hungry and indecisive clientele since 2003. The J-Roll, a spicy tuna with shrimp tempura and avocado sushi roll, delights those who opt for the Japanese fare, while the Triple Jewelry, shrimp, beef and chicken with mixed vegetables, headlines the Chinese menu.
For pickup or delivery, the Metro Express offers good fast food for a low price. The pizzeria has no dining room, though some diners can’t resist the tantalizing aroma and eat in the parking lot. It’s primarily a pizza place, but customers can’t get enough of the cheesesteak strombolis.
Folks living in outer Lancaster
can always drive downtown for nightlife distractions. Closer to home, they may enjoy some popcorn and first-run movies at Regal Manor Stadium 16. This large theater features films in traditional, 3D and 4K digital formats, providing over a dozen different movies at any time from which cinephiles can choose.
History & Culture
Lancaster’s history goes back to 1734 when it was laid out by James Hamilton, and it was incorporated as a borough in 1742. It was very briefly the capital of the rebelling colonies during the American Revolution, on September 27, 1777, after the British captured Philadelphia. Its status as capital lasted only one day, now celebrated in Lancaster every September 27 as Capital Day.
One of the most important figures of the American Revolution, General Edward Hand made his home in Lancaster. His former estate is now a museum and historical site, Rock Ford Plantation, occupying 33 acres in what is now Lancaster County Central Park. His mansion is considered one of the most well-preserved examples of 18th-century architecture in Pennsylvania.
Lancaster has seen a dramatic increase in its Latino population, and it has the highest concentration of Puerto Ricans in Pennsylvania, celebrating this heritage with an annual Puerto Rican Festival.
Cars remain the principal means of transportation in Outer Lancaster. Sites of interest tend to be spread out and travel on foot or bike may be both unsafe and inconvenient. Parking is almost never a problem. You can ride into downtown Lancaster
in 10 to 15 minutes. Those in need of a cab can call Lancaster City Cabs. Uber is not yet available within Lancaster, though talks were underway to bring the service to the region.
The South Central Transit Authority (formerly the Red Rose Transit Authority) handles public transit in the area. The 15 bus serves the area of Outer Lancaster with stops along Willow Street Pike.
Heading south out of town, Prince Street becomes US-222. Going north, travellers can access US-30, a major east/west highway. Those preferring train travel can make use of the Amtrak station on the north side of town.
Cost of living in Lancaster sits about 11 percent lower than the national average. The average rental rate is $895 for a one-bedroom
apartment. A bus trip into downtown Lancaster costs $1.85. Gas costs about 9 percent more than the national average. Domestic beers rarely cost more than $3, imported and craft beers, about $5.
Shoppers are drawn to downtown Lancaster’s Park City Center, the largest enclosed shopping center in South Central Pennsylvania, and Gallery Row’s boutiques, vintage shops and art galleries. Fewer shopping opportunities exist in mostly residential and rural outer Lancaster, but some shops cluster in the Manor Shopping Center, lying on the southwest edge of town. These include some chain outlets, such as a CVS, Rainbow, Dots and Mandee.
You can get all your grocery shopping done within the same shopping complex at Weis Markets, a supermarket chain with locations throughout central and eastern Pennsylvania. When in need of fresher fare, shoppers in Outer Lancaster head downtown to the oldest continuously operating farmer’s market in the country at the Lancaster Central Market.
Independent retailer Spot USA offers great deals on young men’s clothing, with a focus on T-shirts, sweatshirts, jackets and jeans, rather than suits and ties. This discount outlet doesn’t carry the big brand-name designers, but offers stylish and edgy urban apparel at a low cost.
If you want to hit the links in Lancaster, tee up at the Meadia Heights Golf Club. If you just need some supplies, check out the affiliated golf shop. The club, featuring a challenging 18-hole course and practice areas for driving and putting, is open only to members and their guests. The shop is open to the public and sells golf balls, clubs, hats, shoes and other golf apparel and gear. Custom-made equipment can be specially ordered if the shop doesn't have it in stock. Both club and shop are closed in January but open throughout the rest of the year.
The basketball courts in Brandon Park do more than just provide a place for locals to enjoy a game of hoops. The permeable macadam of the courts are part of a green infrastructure project, designed to absorb and hold rainwater, limiting erosion in the area.
Other parks in the area include Lancaster Community Park, featuring soccer and baseball fields and a playground area, and the tiny South End Park, but by far the biggest park in the area is the Lancaster County Central Park, a sprawling green space covering 544 acres. It contains baseball, soccer and football fields, available to the public for a fee. Sporting leagues contact the county to reserve the fields.
Most of the park’s other features are available without charge, including the Garden of the Five Senses, a paved pathway meandering through a carefully maintained garden, designed to stimulate sight, touch, taste, smell and hearing. Parkgoers can explore numerous other trails on foot, bike, skates or even on horseback. They can bring their dogs with them, and the dogs do not even need to be leashed, so long as the owners exercise proper control.
The park offers educational programs for kids, with naturalists teaching about environmental issues. Kids and adults can also learn about archeology and Native American culture at an archaeological treasure uncovered in 1979: a Native American burial site.
Of the many activities available in this expansive park, the annual Schreiber Pediatric Rubber Duckie Race arguably qualifies as the most adorable. Imagine 20,000 rubber duckies floating down the Conestoga River as thousands of fans cheer them on from the shore. This exciting event raises money for the Schreiber Pediatric Rehab Center.